Have you ever wondered why subdomains are considered bad for SEO? You must know the myth that subdomains could hurt your website’s SEO. In this post, we will find out if it is true.
Let’s dig deeper into this myth about whether subdomains affect SEO. Let me first explain a few key terms that some non-technical users don’t know.
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What is a subdomain?
Any domain that has been created in a subdirectory of a parent domain is considered a subdomain. Here is an example of a subdomain:
In the above example, we have a root domain (example.com). The site owner creates a different folder in his website directory by the blog’s name. The website owner can create as many folders as they desire in its root directory. These subfolders are called subdomains.
Some website owners like to keep different sections of websites under other directories (subdomains). As you can see in the above example, the website owner created a subdomain as
They can also create
What is a root domain?
DNS forms a domain by applying rules and procedures. A domain highest in a website’s hierarchy is considered a Root Domain. Here is an example of a root domain:
Are Subdomains Bad for SEO?
It is a question that my clients have asked so many times. Googlebot considers a subdomain as a new website. Google does not associate subdomains to root domains. The simple answer would be, no, Google does not hurt your existing root domain’s ranking. However, for any subdomain you create, Google will take it as a new website.
Suppose your root domain has a high authority, and you start a new blog on the subdomain; this subdomain will get no domain authority from Google. You are almost creating a new website.
Although, you can create links between the root domain and subdomain. It doesn’t mean it would give your new subdomain the same authority as the root domain. Maybe it will improve your subdomain authority to some degree, but your subdomain won’t have an exact root domain authority.
Should you use a subdomain?
It is up to you whether to use a subdomain on your website. A new Subdomain can be ranked high in the search results. However, to rank a subdomain, your site must be optimized.
The best scenario and most recommended one is to use a single domain to manage all of your business activities. You can create different pages and categories to differentiate them.
The best way to do it is before starting your new website. You should develop the structure of your website on a piece of paper or use any mind-mapping software. Map pages you would create on the website and structure them in a way that is easier to understand for your target user. This will help your website’s users to navigate the website easily. Also, Google and other search engines love websites with suitable navigation structures.
Should I use the “Noindex/nofollow” tag or password protection? Is it going to affect the root domain?
You can use both methods. However, the most recommended way is always to protect your development site with a password. It will tell Googlebot that this website is not intended to get indexed in the search results. If your development subdomain gets indexed in the search, you can permanently remove your website from the search results. And no, as I wrote earlier in the post, your subdomain is considered a different domain by Googlebot. It shouldn’t affect your root domain ranking.
I hope this answers your question. In the comments, let me know if you have specific questions about root domains and subdomains.
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